THE DYNAMIC FOUR (OF SIX. OR SEVEN)

Team Dynamic is one of Ischgl Ski School’s three show teams. This evening, the guys will once again conjure up some spectacular runs over the Prennerhang, as part of the ski school’s demo show. We spoke to them.

Short swings. Long swings. Parallel swings. And then suddenly the whole group is skiing together in a mirrored formation, changing its position in the line of the slope, with the ones on the left skiing right and those on the right skiing left. Then they carry on. First short, then long, then back again. All of this at tremendous speed, of course. And there’s a definite element of danger, because if anyone makes a mistake, turns in the wrong direction or, even more stupidly, gets airborne, then the guy behind him or the one who’s supposed to cross lines with him no longer has the chance to brake or swerve out of the way.

This is what demo ski runs – also called formation skiing – are like. It looks pretty spectacular (as the Ischgl Ski School Demo Show will prove once again this evening – Ed.). And Christoph Jehle and his six friends from the Dynamics are very good at it. Need proof? Then click here. Or here. Or here.

Christoph and the other Dynamics work as ski instructors in the ski school in Ischgl in winter, where they’re the wild young things of the school. For the past five seasons they’ve also worked in their free time, though, on group formations. They’re the third Iscghl Ski School team, but the Dynamics are the youngest by far. And they’ve been pretty successful: they don’t only have a permanent role in the demo shows here in Ischgl, they also ski on the Swiss side in demo shows in Samnaun. And they take part in competitions – in the Austrian Ski Instructors Championship in spring 2018, they came third.

A formation always consists of six skiers. But as someone might have to drop out from time to time, the Dynamics consist of seven people, so there’s always a potential replacement. They also have to be well integrated in the team. Because in formation skiing, says Christoph, “you need a degree of trust in the group, you have to rely on the fact that no one will make a mistake.” The Dynamics develop this trust during long training sessions, and it can take a good month until they have a choreography, Christophe tells us. “You just have to have the turns in your head, you have to know the order in which it all happens. And of course you have to be able to keep count!”

How do you learn to do it? With a range of different tricks, including going through the whole choreography from the very beginning. A kind of dry run, like in a dance school. Only then can you go out onto the snow. But it’s still far from certain that everything will work in sync straightaway, even though nothing is left to chance. This is why the Dynamics all use the exact same skis – and although the guys are of different heights, all the skis are the same length. Christoph says: “For it to work, the skis all need to have the same radius, otherwise you have no chance.” The skis they use, which are provided by Sport Zangerl, are racing slalom skis. Christoph: “They are ideal for short radiuses”. But there’re not suitable for normal skiing – let alone for deep snow.

All the runs look spectacular. But how are they marked in competitions? (just in case anyone wants to play the expert and make clever comments in the finishing area at the Prennerhang this evening – Ed.). In formation skiing, the judges mark for synchronicity, formation, speed and technique. And alongside their own show choreography, there’s also what’s known as a compulsory run, like in figure skating. This is where all the participating teams receive a video showing a formation run a few weeks before the competition. Everyone has to ski this choreography, and the judges can use the “compulsory” as the basis of their evaluation.

That’s not what we’ll be seeing from Christoph and the Dynamics this evening, though. Instead, it will be just show, show and more show!

You can see the Dynamics, the other three teams from the Ischgl Ski School, spectacular snowboarders and many more fantastic stunt performances at the Ischgl Ski School Demo Show, at 21:30 this evening at the Prennerhang.